South Sydney Rabbitohs star Sam Burgess has been handed the captaincy for England in the upcoming Four Nations.
Although compatriot James Graham was one of the favourites to secure the post, the authorities deemed Burgess as the ideal candidate at the present scenario. Another name in Wigan’s Sean O’Loughlin was also in the running before he was sidelined through injury.
The 27-year-old spent a year at rugby union side Bath before returning to the league, 11 months following an ill-fated spell previously.
England begin their campaign on October 29 against New Zealand.
The British international expressed his delight at the prospect of leading his squad.
He said: “It's an absolute honour and privilege to be asked to captain my country and lead this group. My mum got a bit emotional.”
He hailed the quality of the group and admitted that there are several captains within the team that will aid in their progress during the tournament.
Burgess added: “Although I am captain on the field for this tournament, there are a group of leaders in this squad and I know that we will work together and as hard as possible to try to achieve success on the pitch for England.”
To date, he has 14 international caps since 2008 but his last involvement was in the 2013 World Cup semi-final defeat by New Zealand.
Switching codes to play in the 2015 Rugby Union World Cup failed miserably as England made an early exit from the group stages.
It would not be the first instance Burgess will be in charge as, in the absence of Greg Inglis, he deputised as the stand-in captain for Rabbitohs this season.
Burgess would want to succeed in the responsibility given to him as England have not won Four Nations, which will be contested by Australia, New Zealand and Scotland.
It also marks the commencement of the tenure of head coach Wayne Bennett who took charge after Steve McNamara was replaced in February.
Before the first game later this month, England will face-off against France in Avignon on October 22, when Burgess will be suspended and James Graham will lead.
The next schedule of their matches includes Scotland in Coventry on November 5 and later coming up against Australia at the Olympic Stadium in the capital on November 13.
England will definitely be hoping for a commendable showing as they aim for success since the tournament takes place on their home soil.